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Drug Charges Dropped Against Teen Who Flipped Off Judge

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Drug charges have been dropped against the South Florida teen who was jailed for a brief time after flipping off a Miami-Dade judge during a bond court hearing.

State prosecutors dismissed the drug charges against Penelope Soto.

Soto appeared before a drug court judge Friday who said she successfully completed the drug court program.

The judge even congratulated her and her mother and they got applause from the court room.

Soto told Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jeri Cohen, "It's been a long journey but I have learned a lot and I wouldn't have been able to do it without my higher power."

She was asked about the attention to her case.

"Honestly I despise it very much," she said. "But it's ok."

"How do you feel drug free?" asked Judge Cohen.

"Better," she said.

"You feel a lot better," asked Cohen.

"Yes," she said.

"You're clean?" the Judge asked.

"Yes," she said.

"And how's the anxiety been?" asked Judge Cohen.

"It's horrible," said Soto, drawing laughter from the courtroom.

Penelope Soto
Penelope Soto apologizes to a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge. (Source: CBS4)

Soto's mother, who was not identified, testified, "I just want to thank everybody and the court for everything that was done."

Soto's attorney Steven Cohen said that physically and mentally, Soto was doing well.

Cohen told CBS4's Peter D'Oench that Soto currently had a job but declined to say where she was working.

Cohen told D'Oench that Soto was in the process of getting her G.E.D. and hope to continue her education after that.

Soto was 18 when she was arrested last year on a drug possession charge.

She made national headlines when video from her first bond court appearance went viral after she flipped off Circuit Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat and told him, "Go (expletive) yourself!" in response to the judge raising her bond from $5,000 to $10,000.

The judge then charged her with contempt of court and ordered her to serve 30 days in jail.

A few days later, Soto apologized to the judge, saying she was under the influence of Xanax and alcohol when she made the obscene gesture.

Following her apology, the judge dropped her contempt of court charge and vacated her 30-day jail term.

Soto was originally arrested for possession of Xanax.

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